Case Study: Intersectionality and Workplace Diversity

Scenario:
You are an employee who overhears conversations among your coworkers. While on break, two male coworkers, Robert and Henry, usually go outside by themselves to talk and smoke a cigarette. Robert is African-American and Henry is Hispanic. One day, Shirley is also outside and overhears bits and pieces of their conversation. Shirley, who is a white woman, is concerned that they regularly have conversations that are inappropriate for the workplace. She says that she overheard these coworkers making crude sexual references about women, sharing images and graphics of a sexist nature on their cell phones.
The matter is brought to the attention of their supervisor, Allen, who is white and male. Allen is also gay. Allen tells Robert and Henry that he is concerned about potential gender bias in the workplace that makes gender and sexual minorities feel unsafe.
Robert makes a comment to Allen that their conversation was private and that Shirley was not invited into the conversation. He further states that white women are always inserting themselves into other people’s business. He feels that he and Henry are being called out on their behavior because they hold lower paid jobs in the organization.
Shirley replies that as one of the few females in the organization, she is often made to feel unsafe in her work environment and that as the only woman involved in this meeting, she feels as though no one is listening to her point of view.

You have been hired as a consultant to this company and have been asked advice on how to handle the situation.
You will need to incorporate a discussion of intersectionality into your response. Refer to Chapter 14.3 Workplace Identities, Interactions, and Inequalities to inform your response.
In a 500-word (minimum) essay using the concepts that you learned from this week’s readings, analyze the different ways that sexist behavior is handled in the formal and informal bureaucracy. Address the following items in your essay.

  1. What are the power dynamics in this situation related to the statuses of racial, gender, and sexual identities?
  2. How is each person’s point of view valid?
  3. What would you propose as a resolution?

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS